Westmoreland high school football notebook: OLSH’s spread offense to test No. 1 Jeannette
Defense has been a strong suit for Jeannette this season, but the Jayhawks have not seen a quarterback quite like Tyler Bradley of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
OLSH, ranked No. 4 in the WPIAL and state, will visit McKee Stadium Friday night for a nonconference game looking to knock off WPIAL No. 1 Jeannette, also rated No. 2 in the state ranks.
Both teams are 6-0. Expect a playoff atmosphere.
Bradley and the Chargers run a spread offense and like to dump off short passes and get their receivers in space. Of course, the deep ball also is a concern.
Bradley (6-3, 195) has thrown for a WPIAL-best 1,780 yards and 24 touchdowns, with only two interceptions. Last week, he completed 20 of 30 attempts for 423 yards and seven touchdowns.
He has three receivers with 20 or more catches in Andrew Schmarre (31 for 448 yards), Richard Banks (29-420) and Rico Tate (20-333).
Jeannette’s 3-5-3 stack defense will be tested but that’s not say it will bend. Applying blitz pressure to opposing quarterbacks using various fronts has been a staple at Jeannette for years and it won’t stop now.
“We have to play assignment football,” Jeannette junior linebacker Justin Cramer said. “We have to make sure everyone knows what the play is, and what they are doing; also blitzing. If we get pressure on (Bradley) he will not want to throw.”
Bradley knows Jeannette has speed and anticipates having to get rid of the football quickly.
“They do a lot of good things defensively as a team and they play as a unit,” Bradley said. “We need to mirror their intensity and play as a team and I think we’ll be OK.
“We’ve seen a lot of different things this year, so we’re just going to have to rep their stuff (in practice).”
OLSH averages 46.3 points and allows 5.5. Jeannette scores 42.5 and gives up 5.2.
“I live for these games and I can say the same about my guys,” Bradley said. “We’re ready for a battle and can’t wait to see what Jeanette has to offer.”
OLSH didn’t have running back Austin Wigley last year because of injury, but the senior has helped provide balance to the offense. He has rushed for 316 yards this season.
“We match up pretty well against them,” Cramer said. “We have guys that can cover their running back -- which they have not seen this year.”
Ligonier Valley seniors John Caldwell and Aaron Tutino have become a combustible pass-and-catch combination for the binge-scoring Rams (6-0).
After a record-breaking game last week in a 67-20 victory over Purchase Line, Caldwell has become one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the state and Tutino one of the most dangerous receivers.
Caldwell completed 20 of 23 attempts last week and broke school records with 402 yards and seven touchdowns, five to Tutino, who had 12 receptions for 285 yards -- and won homecoming king.
“It’s a good sign that we’re doing a lot of things right here,” Caldwell said. “We have a lot of playmakers.”
For the season, Caldwell is 69 of 99 for 1,151 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has two interceptions.
Tutino has 30 catches for 583 yards and 11 scores.
“We know we can come out and perform like that every game,” Tutino said. “We just kept picking at it all night.”
The Rams, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 2A, have won a record 25 consecutive Heritage Conference games. They are averaging 52 points per game. Since 2016, they have topped the 50-point mark 13 times and have scored 40 or more 24 times.
Tutino nears record
Tutino is closing in on the state record for career touchdown receptions. He has 51 scoring catches in his four-year career and needs three more to catch Allentown Central Catholic’s Kevin Gulyas, who had 54 from 2008-11.
Ligonier Valley plays at Marion Center on Friday.
Tutino has 170 catches for 3,340 yards in his career. His 285-yard performance ranks him sixth in the state for receiving yards in a game, and his 170 career catches ranks him ninth.
Derry seeks rebound
Senior Dom DeLuca called last week an “eye opener” for Class 3A No. 4 Derry, which was tripped up by No. 2 Elizabeth Forward, 25-22, despite a second-half comeback.
DeLuca, a fullback and linebacker for the Trojans, saw last week as a test that could make Derry even stronger -- given the team can recharge its focus.
“We knew they were going to come at us and that they were a good football team,” he said. “We didn’t execute. We learned we can’t come out flat and make mental mistakes. The coaches had a good game plan, but we lacked mental focus. We learned a lot from the tape and just have to get back at it. It’s a new week, time to bounce back.”
Derry has not lost back-to-back games since 2015.
A different route
A few area backup quarterbacks have been making an impact at wide receiver. All of them are sophomores.
Jeannette’s James Sanders is just 5-foot-6 and 135 pounds but he has been a playmaker. Last week, he had eight receptions for 183 yards and two touchdowns, including a 58-yard score, in a 44-0 win at Brownsville.
Penn-Trafford’s Ethan Carr, meantime, pulled in a 20-yard scoring pass from junior Gabe Dunlap in a 45-3 win at Plum. Carr and Dunlap each have seen time under center for the Warriors.
Hempfield’s Roman Pellis, another backup quarterback, had a touchdown catch last week in a 37-6 loss to Mt. Lebanon.